What Helmets Were Team USA Bobsledders Wearing In Sochi?

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Steven Holcomb Bobsled Helmet

The US Bobsled teams are making headlines in Sochi, taking home their first medal in the sport in 62 years. But, what helmet were Team USA, Lolo Jones and Steven Holcomb, racing in? Why, none other than RideApart fave. The lightest full-face motorcycle helmet you can buy right now, the Nexx XR1R Carbon.

The XR1R is the product of a tiny, specialist helmet manufacturer in Portugal. It’s ok if you’ve never heard or Nexx, they’ve only been making bike helmets for a few years and they’ve only just begun to penetrate the American market.

Nexx XR1R Carbon
The Nexx XR1R Carbon, as worn by Steven Holcomb.

Why would top US athletes choose the helmet? Well, in one word: weight. Weight matters just as much on a bobsled as it does on a motorcycle, which is why Team USA turned to BMW’s North America Design Studio to create their sleds. Your head sits at the extreme end of your body. Any movement or forces your body experiences are magnified by the time they reach your noggin. A few G-Forces are no big deal for your torso, but they are enough to bend your head over onto your shoulders. Rapid acceleration or deceleration, again, your head can be thrown backwards or forwards. Any gram you can save on a helmet reduces those effects.

And, at just 1,200 grams for a size medium, the XR1R Carbon is the lightest full-face, road-race-style motorcycle helmet you can buy. It achieves that through an all-carbon shell and a drastic parts reduction– for instance, there’s no quick-change visor mechanism.

Lolo Jones Bobsled Helmet
Lolo Jones, practicing in her Nexx.

The helmet has other advantages, of course. Its horizon line — the level at which your vision is cut off while peering upwards in a tuck — is exceptionally high. As high as any helmet we’ve ever tested. That makes its vision while tucked in exceptionally good; an advantage on two wheels and while operating a bobsled. Jones and Holcomb are able to see better in their aerodynamic tuck than other athletes in other helmets — a huge advantage, allowing them to see further down the track without sacrificing aerodynamics.

The XR1R’s visor is so large, in fact, that the helmet comes equipped with the largest Pinlock anti-fog visor insert ever made. You can clearly see that item installed in Holcomb’s helmet, utterly eliminating fogging.

Of course, none of this would be worth a damn if the helmet didn’t fit the athletes’ heads. But the XR1R will, thanks to a customizable fit. The intermediate oval head shape lid ships with a healthy selection of pads, designed to stick between liner and EPS which individually tailor the helmet to each rider. The effect is remarkable, you can make this helmet fit you perfectly, provided you roughly approximate its internal shape.

Like the US Bobsled team, this helmet is a winner. It’s made to the superior ECE 22.05 safety standard and retails for just $600. It’s also available in a 100 gram heavier, non-carbon version starting at just $420. Want Holcomb’s exact lid? It’s available right here.

  • Yensen

    The new versions of Nexx X1R1′s have a quick change visor mechanism called Fastshot and they sell the mechanism so that you can upgrade your older helmet with the new mechanism. Probably faster and easier than any other brand.

  • William Connor

    I have tried these on at shows and they are really nice.

  • BostonRob

    I knew it! I was watching the bobsled team saying to myself, “That’s a motorcycle helmet… Wait, is that a Nexx?” That’s the helmet I am pining after to replace my Arai Vector 2 when it’s usefulness is spent. From all the reviews I’ve read, it seems like just about as good as it gets. Just not crazy about all the branding/words written all over the XR1R. And the name. It should have been the X1R1 so people don’t always mess it up in conversation…

  • josh

    I have one in carbon, white and red. Other than picking up scratches more easily than my old CL-SP or Icon Variant, its perfect. Super wide viewing angle, super plush inside. Not too loud, and lighter than some half helmets.

  • hunkyleepickle

    damn, and i just bought a new RF-1200 for not much less….oh well, nice lid anyway!

  • Strafer

    knew i recognized this helmet!
    the breath guard threw me off though – never seen one like that before – is that a special breath guard that really stops fog on the visor from your breath?

    • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

      Looks like an aftermarket neoprene one, there’s a ton out there.

  • Mister Gone

    Yes! My expensive frowned-upon-by-the-GF-bc-we-have-no-monies choice has been justified! It really is a brilliant helmet, better than my old Shoei in every respec but noise and even that’s not too bad.

  • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

    Thats a beautiful helmet. 20% heavier than the old BMW carbon lids, but still a step in the right direction.

    • juliansr

      That old BMW helmet was only 1150 grams and 2000$…this is 1300g but only 500$…. yes 13% heavier, but 75% less expensive and 100% less of the gas-mask aesthetic. i think that’s a solid stride.

      • http://RideApart.com/ Wes Siler

        The Nexx is 1200 grams in medium. And sold in America.

      • http://turnerart.la/ Justin Turner

        Thats not the one I was thinking of… Sport Integral. I’ve weighed mine here, 979 grams, size Large. So more than 20%. When you’re saying that each gram counts, thats a lot of them!

        I’m not saying its a better helmet, it’s just a design that produced an exceptionally low weight a fairly long time ago. I think it was so expensive because it was very early in the carbon lid market. I just wonder why it hasn’t led to even lighter helmets by now.

  • Tyler Durden

    I got mine for a discount on classiccruiser dot com. They discount $60 when you add it to cart.

  • Guest

    Really like this helmet. I was looking for something nice and light with excellent vision. While I like the design of the XR1R Carbon I wanted something a little more subtle so ended up going with the Diablo variant. Its the same helmet just wrapped in black leather.

  • Adrastos34

    Really like this helmet. I was looking for something nice and light with excellent vision. While I like the design of the XR1R Carbon I wanted something a little more subtle so ended up going with the Diablo variant. Its the same helmet just wrapped in black leather. One thing that really made a nice difference was how quiet it is compared to other helmets I have had.

  • Afonso Mata

    Made in Portugal, baby ;)

  • Ryan Deckard

    Tried on the Nexx X2R at AIM. Wow, even nicer than the XR1R. Rep from Nexx said it is even lighter!

    • Mitchel Durnell

      Just looked these up – they’re gonna be hot! Definitely have my attention.

  • juliansr

    This is my daily helmet, it’s a really nice quality and finish.
    also it’s cafe-cool. Not full face so it’s a little more appropriate for around town.


  • juliansr

    What is most convenient about my NEXX is the chin strap. 100% usable in gloves.
    it works like skate/snow boot straps.

  • KahMogk

    Does anyone know why Holcomb and others wear the cloth cover over their helmets prior to racing…is it to protect the visor?